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Strangest Movie Experience


wouldbestar
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Strange experiences...there was a "revival" movie theater in Fullerton, CA, I visited in the late '70s or early '80s which was in a converted swimming pool...the cement floor sloped down and there was still a drain at the "deep" end! There was a balcony around what had been the sides of the pool, and around the edges there was still tile with the depth measurements!

 

This must be it...it was demolished in the '90s:

 

http://cinematreasures.org/theater/6172/

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In 1973 I joined the USN and my first weekend in California I got off the Long Beach Downtown Bus and they were filming a movie. I asked a girl with a clipboard what was going on and she said they were filming Gone in 60 Seconds and if I stood on the corner I might be in the movie. The scene was shot.

 

About a year later still in Long Beach a local moviehouse was showing Gone in 60 Seconds. Went in to the movie and not only saw myself on the big screen (my film debute) but the moviehouse I was in was in the movie. Deju vue all over again.

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I have two unusual movie-going experiences that come to mind, one involving a pet and the other a pick-up. I think I'll go with the pet story.

 

Years ago, my friend and I were to meet and go see *Giant*, which was playing in some revival cinema. Neither of us had ever seen it, but we were both classic movie fans, even then, plus my friend had a thing for James Dean.

 

So I got to the theatre first. I waited a while, and finally my friend shows up with a daschund in her purse. She'd recently adopted (taken on? acquired? ) this little dog, and was reluctant to leave him alone in her condo. ( You know, a young dog in a new strange surrounding, might get upset -this was in the days before those dog cage things were common.) I asked her if she planned to take the doggie into the cinema with her, and she replied, "Oh yes, he 's very good -natured, he just wants to be with me." It was so funny, seeing this little weiner dog stuck in her bag, his doggie eyes looking earnestly up at me as though to say "That's right, don't worry, hey, I like movies too."

 

So in we went - I believe my friend kind of pulled the zipper on her purse when she bought the ticket so nobody would try and stop her from bringing a baby daschund into the theatre to see *Giant*.

Anyway, much to my surprise, all went well. No barking, snuffling, whineing, or attempts to escape from my friends' voluminous bag whatsover. No "accidents" either. I believe the little dog fell asleep -perhaps George Stevens epic style was not to his liking. It was quite funny, sitting there next to my friend and this little sleeping daschund (she did unzip her bag), watching Elizabeth Taylor and Rock Hudson doing their family saga thing, James Dean brooding and methoding away, with this little weiner dog's head sticking out right beside me.

 

The film ended -and this is a long film ! - and my friend and I calmly left the theatre, ruminating upon oil wells and rich Texas families and James Dean's looks and the like, end of story. ( My friend declined the suggestion of a post-movie coffee, feeling that her new dog had exerted himself enough for one day, and that perhaps she should be setting home with him. )

 

So, nothing "happened", per sec, but it was an unusual experience, watching *Giant* in a movie theatre with a daschund by my side.

 

(I'm not up to speed on canine breeds' names, please overlook misspelling of "daschund")

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I've also got two odd experiences to share.

 

A fire alarm went off in the middle of a screening of "Ever After". They evacuated the entire theater (all 14 screens), determined that it was a false alarm, and brought everyone back in to finish watching their respective movies. And no, they didn't pick it up where it left off - they stayed on schedule, which means that we missed about 20minutes in the middle of the movie. Oh, and no free movie passes to compensate us for our trouble, either. I finally saw the missing piece when it came out on cable.

 

The other time, I was at a screening of "The Breakfast Club" when it first came out. The theater was very close to a college campus, and it was a sellout crowd - lots of people didn't get to sit with their parties because it was so crowded. Anyway, as the credits started rolling at the beginning, the crowd cheered very loudly - for Molly Ringwald, Emilio Estevez, etc., and then the noise died down as some of the non-actor credits followed. When the film editor's name flashed on the screen, the guy who was sitting in the one seat between me and the aisle, whooped and cheered loudly, all by himself. I'm guessing that the film editor was a friend of his.

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"...Oh, and no free movie passes to compensate us for our trouble, either..."

 

I would have asked for one - to miss 20 minutes of a film you've paid to see because of something over which you and the rest of the audience had no control is grossly unfair.

 

Edited by: misswonderly on Nov 22, 2010 10:57 PM

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That reminds me that I was an extra in a very horrible film called "Avalanche" starring Mia Farrow & Rock Hudson. I had gotten a bad sunburn on the slopes so decided to take a day off & watch the filming. I was grabbed, after signing something relating to non-payment, & was in a couple of scenes. My family went ballistic when we saw the movie but having seen it as long time ago on late night TV, I have ended up on the cutting room floor. Ah well...

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"I would have asked for one - to miss 20 minutes of a film you've paid to see because of something over which you and the rest of the audience had no control is grossly unfair."

 

I did ask for a free pass, as did many others. The manager on duty announced to the unruly masses that he couldn't because HIS manager didn't allow the handing out of any free passes for such "emergencies". Needless to say, that was the last time I saw the inside of that particular theater, and I'm sure I'm not the only one.

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They should have refunded your money, since you didn't get to see the whole film. I think they were probably legally obligated to do that. Then, for good customer relations, given out free passes. I probably would have raised hell with the manager, and definitely never gone there again, if they didn't make it right.

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Lucky you to have it all for yourself. No cellphones, whispering and other distractions. That reminds me of the movie "Annie" (1982) when Daddy Warbucks bought out the Radio City Music Hall just to watch "Camille" (1936) Many people think that movie (Camille) wasn't so hot. As an added bonus, Mr. Warbucks got to see the movie 3 years before it was made.

 

So since you didn't have to buy out the house, imagine the $$$$ you saved. :)

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> {quote:title=movie1895 wrote:}{quote}

> When the film editor's name flashed on the screen, the guy who was sitting in the one seat between me and the aisle, whooped and cheered loudly, all by himself. I'm guessing that the film editor was a friend of his.

 

Reminds me of the time when I saw "Tora, Tora, Tora" in San Francisco when it was first released. During parts of the film that showed the Japanese carriers, some Oriental guy shouted at the screen, long sentences in what sounded like Japanese. I figure he was an old Japanese vet. A survivor of the war who thought those parts of the movie were inaccurate.

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This actually happened when I was watching a store rented videotape of a 70's explotation film called Jailbait Babysitter. In the middle of the movie the action stopped and all of a suuden a snippet of an unrelated newscast appeared for about 30 seconds.

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That was such a lovely little story, oh yes it was, yes it was. For a dog to sit through

a movie without making its presence known is interesting. To do it through one of epic

length like Giant is astounding. I'd love to see a cat do it. Meoowwww.

 

I had some brief experience on the other side of the ticket counter. For one summer

during high school I worked as an usher in a local theater. Of course you could get

all the free popcorn you wanted, and I still love popcorn. On some Saturdays they'd

have a kiddie matinee. So one usher would go up to the balcony, which was closed to

customers, and gently drop a piece of candy or two on the kids below. Then a kid

would complain to the other usher on the main floor. Yes sonny, we'll look right into that.

Hee hee. The head usher was a middle-aged guy who had a slight drinking problem.

One night he wanted to go up to the balcony and decided to hop over the velvet rope

on the ground floor. Didn't make it. Ouch. That's show biz.

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At least he didn't trip over spilled popcorn, a serious hazard when going to the cinema, especially the kind with lots of butter/"golden topping". A slippery slope indeed.

 

The old "drop things on people's heads from the balcony" has always proved a temptation too great to resist -at least to kids, teens, and irresponsible adults. (Remember Barbara Stanwyk dropping something onto Henry Fonda's head in *The Lady Eve* ? )

 

Edited by: misswonderly on Nov 27, 2010 2:28 PM

(I think the dog went to sleep and stayed asleep throughout - that's the only way he'd have behaved -maybe my friend slipped him a doggie mickey before she left.)

 

Edited by: misswonderly on Nov 27, 2010 2:29 PM

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The nearer your stadium seating, the more you're slip slidin' away. I've never had

problems with slippery, buttery popcorn, but I could see where it might trip a

person up. Yep, somebody might have given that pooch some doggie downers,

because for a dog to be quiet in that environment for that long a time just doesn't

seem natural.

 

We were just teens who were having some fun. It's not like we were throwing

billiard balls on the little ones. Darn...too late now. That place was part soap opera.

The assistant manger must have been the anxious type because he'd send an usher

to the drugstore across the street for Rolaids at least once a day. All this talk of movie

popcorn makes me want to go to the movies next week. Yummy. Who cares about

the picture? ;)

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Ok, to be completely honest, I don't remember exactly how the dog behaved. I feel kind of like it looks as though I'm making it up, such a phenomenally well-behaved dog, It was many years ago, and I suppose like a lot of memories from many years ago, the story I've conceived from this event may not be precisely the way it happened. That's how I remember it, but possibly the doggie whined, and my friend had to leave the screening room once or twice , as one would with a fractious baby. If this is indeed what happened, I must have been so engrossed in watching *Giant* that I didn't notice.

Who knows, maybe my friend administered popcorn to him to keep him quiet. Hopefully the non-buttered variety.

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This is an at home rather than a theater story. I had a very strange experience this afternoon watching The Miracle of Fatima. When the pilgrim asked Lucia?s mother where the grotto was and she replied there was no such place it registered in my mind. Other scenes did the same and by the climax I realized that I?d possibly seen the movie back in 1954 in the basement of my parish school. That was only two years after its release so that doesn?t seem possible but the nuns often ?treated? us to church themed movies there and I don?t remember seeing it in a theater. It was very well produced, acted and followed the accounts I?ve read of the occurrences; I definitely appreciated it more than I did nearly sixty years ago. Thanks, TCM.

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